google-fcc

File this one under pure speculation… Beyond showing up as a new FCC listing, we know next to nothing about this Google “Smart Device.” Some have concluded it’s a Google Glass update. However, I find that unlikely given the naming convention (CAP1 vs X1) and seeking approval for just a single band of low energy Bluetooth. It’s been a long while since we’re heard anything out of Google-owned Nest and Dropcam – not to mention those canceled Tabs. So a new “Smart Device,” with a touch-powered display, is particularly interesting. Of course, the type of gadget that runs solely BLE would be limited. In fact, in my household, the only thing similarly adorned is my Kevo smartlock. Curiouser and curiouser.

tivo-aereo

Is a list of (perhaps) 80,000 customers and a URL worth a cool million? TiVo’s about to find out… as they’ve begun emailing Aereo castaways, having closed on various Aereo assetts through bankruptcy proceedings. As you can see above, the targeted pitch is actually pretty compelling. For those who have OTA reception, anyway. At $20/month, with a two year commitment, TiVo is offering the four-tuner Roamio OTA DVR with 500GB hard drive and a TiVo Stream to handle mobile viewing on iOS or Android. Beyond television recording and streaming, TiVo also includes a variety of online apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant. While I might find this to be a good deal, our pal Todd’s knee-jerk reaction when forwarding me the email blast was: ‘dafuq?’ So I’m wondering how others feel – chime in below! (By the by, the Aereo URL has not been updated… yet.) Continue Reading…

verizon-bundles

I’m failry certain we’ll never get to à la carte cable. Certainly not in the next several years… given the current content hegemony that requires channels on certain tiers and/or bundling of multiple properties. Having said that, industry has taken notice as consumers look to exert more control over their content choices and seek more value from their entertainment expenditures. And Verizon announced a new permutation of FiOS… that, interestingly, most closely resembles Sling TV.

Double play plans start at $55/month with both existing or new Verizon FiOS customers choosing the data speeds they want, including the base 34 Custom HD channel lineup, with the possibility to add “channel packs” for $10/pop. Triple play, for voice, is also an option. The new plans do not require a 2-year agreement, as so many other FiOS packages do, but the most interesting aspect is, of course, the ability to more finely tune the stations you receive. Continue Reading…

tivo-roamio-drive

Given periodic tuner conflicts with my Premiere XL4/Elite, due to recording duties and Mini streaming, and a desire to periodically offload DVR-ed shows, something the devalued Slingbox cannot offer,  I’ve been quite pleased since taking TiVo up on their 10 year customer deal last month for a 6-tuner Roamio. Indeed, while TiVo’s “Stream” functionality isn’t currently as robust or reliable as Sling’s, I downloaded several episodes of Arrow onto an iPad for two recent flights. Even with the more frequent drops or need to restart a stream as the 5PM news flips to 6PM, given TiVo’s need to initiate a recording prior to streaming, it’s still far more efficient and pleasant than Sling for “watching TV” at the dinner table. My only real issue since upgrading TiVo has been storage capacity…

My Lifetimed Premiere XL4 provided 3TB for recordings. And while we’re probably watching less “cable” television these days, we’re hoarding much more content as we accumulate seasons and half-seasons for binge viewing, sans commercial interruption. TiVo had offered me the Roamio Plus (1TB) for $500 or the Roamio Pro (3TB) for $700, both with Lifetime service. I figured I’d give the smaller drive a shot to potentially save a few bucks… and knowing I could upgrade on my own down the road, for less than TiVo charges for the drive delta, should 1TB prove insufficient.

Fast forward a few weeks… Continue Reading…

Tablo Android TV grid guide

It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Tablo TV system. Since the launch almost one year ago, Tablo has continually pushed the little placeshifting over-the-air DVR forward via software updates to bring functionality up to speed with most major competitors.One of the later enhancements has been thumbnail previews while FF/RW a recorded show. That alone seems to have pushed the Wife Acceptance Factor to 11 as it was one of her biggest complaints while trying to use Tablo!

Back in January at 2015 CES, Tablo announced a major overhaul to their Roku app, and also announced the addition of Fire TV and Nexus Player apps. Today, Tablo looks to make good on that promise by releasing these apps. For the past few days, I’ve been using the both the new Roku “preview” and the new Fire TV app. Visually, these apps are a major upgrade more akin to today’s standard DVR interface. My current setup for Tablo is that the device is wired directly into my router.   From there, I am using a pair of Netgear 1200 Powerline adapters so my connections is wired straight to the Roku 3. For the Fire TV stick, it’s currently running on my 5ghz band of my wireless router to minimize congestion.

Roku Preview

For the updated Roku preview app, Tablo had to completely rewrite the entire code base. This involved getting special privileges from Roku to break away from their standard app template. And although the old Tablo Roku app was fully functional, the number one feature was to have a more conventional UI that included a guide screen. With this “preview”, Tablo has transformed the interface to provide this functionality. Continue Reading…

Whoa, Amazon Echo just got way more interesting.Thus far, it’s made for a relatively decent voice-controlled alarm clock and connected speaker. But we’ve found it more novelty than necessity. That may change today. As Amazon just sent a note indicating they’ve enabled linkages to my Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin’s WeMo products for the smart home. Looking forward to checking this out real soon (and, sadly, it seems I may have prematurely unloaded our second unit). Continue Reading…

tivo-2047

Plex, now triply confirmed for the platform, is just weeks away as TiVo begins rolling out software version 20.4.7 to Premiere and Roamio units. Its ultimate usefulness and quality will likely be governed by launching as a native app, like Amazon Instant, or living within the Opera TV app store. Neither Plex and TiVo have yet to respond to my inquiries, so your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, I’ll go ahead and assume the Amazon Fire TV will retain the crown of top Plex client… but there is something to be said for Input 1 access to the important stuff. 20.4.7 also sets the stage for iHeartRadio and Vudu (finally on Premiere). You can see the release notes above, copied from TiVo’s revamped support site, and sign up for the Priority List here.

(Thanks Sam!)